My name is Rafael and I was born in the metropolitan city known as São Paulo, Brazil. I currently am working with Latte art, graphic design, and commercial art. I must first say that my interest in art came from early childhood. I must have spent hours drawing even with or without encouragement from my parents. I never really imagined at such a young age that this would have became a life style or my main way of survival. But, honestly I can not imagine doing anything else now.
In the early 90’s I began to get interested in writing, especially for graffiti. It simply fascinated me more than anything else. I mean we saw it all over the streets all of the time, so I could not escape it. It entered into my eyes so much, like all of the time. So I spent a lot of time walking down the streets and riding on buses as well as trains trying to figure our what the f#$K they were trying to say…I have to stress riding on the train lines. The colors always matched so well. Honestly, São Paulo is a unique city for street art and quite hard to explain. In my earlier age, the Hip Hop scene most definitely would have had a large impact upon me as well as the whole world, or even, my city. I think that maybe at first I saw some movies or videos that got me sucked into the beat as well as the art. Maybe that was the first time I saw graffiti as we all know that it is incorporated into Hip Hop. I can say there was not a moment of hesitation. I knew I wanted to do it.
I might have went crazy with my writing style or the amount of colors that I used. I also can say that in the beginning that I did not know any techniques. I just started with sketches. This stuff takes a long time to learn. I honestly did not have as much information to study. I remember exactly where I was and what my level was back in 1997. Really it was just throw ups only with latex paint.
In 98 I was invited to be part of a crew of my area but that mostly did not work. I then decided to follow a solo career and started to sign RF. At this time, I was already hanging out with some classes of pixação because their graffiti was getting stronger in my area. I began to paint with other writers at the end of 99 to 2000. I was invited by Rob to hook up with Class 44 in 2002. After the birth of my son in 2004, I went to sign Enoak in his honor. I write more Oak on the streets. I am member of the crews: T44 – ESU – AMC – TWA – ADA – VNK – EDS
Today is more Vivencio Graffiti. I have my own identity my own style. I try to keep in my pieces the essence of the elements, always evolving my art. Graffiti gave me another opportunity, led me to study other aspects of art, I changed my lifestyle always for the better!
Do you have an unusual situation that could entertain us?
Fortunately I was never stuck doing graffiti, but moreover, I have been through some tense moments with the police as with aggression, insults, and some leaks.
Once I was with my crew painting an advertising board on a highway. In the middle of painting, suddenly a car appeared coming from the other way. The mouse got out and started shooting at us all so we bailed out into a thicket. We left the ink back behind us. Just when we were out of the reach of the shots, they stopped. I have never ran so much (LOL). We waited and after a few minutes, we returned to rescue the paint. I have another one about a train line with my Venec ink brother and Zen, but I will save that for another time.
Are you just focusing on art or do you have other things in your own mind? What are you working on now?
I’m currently just focused on art, that’s my work. I develop art for some companies from different segments. I’m working on some art projects and graffiti as well as producing screens for a future exhibition. Right now I have many projects in mind while mostly lacking time and money to complete or even start some of them.
What are your main achievements? Your latest achievements?
Good guy! My main achievements are my children and family and many art exhibitions that I have attended. I have had my art placed on a skateboard which was my childhood dream. In addition, I have painted in places that I never thought I would paint and I have much more to accomplish yet!
I have participated in some art exhibitions, as well as the first auction of street art in Brazil. There were many big names from the Brasilain world of graffiti and other forms of art there. I made many friends at the events that I have attended, which makes it all the more better. Graffiti gives me back achievements every day even though my style and letters are frowned upon by society. The only thing that this critisiscm does is give me a greater desire to paint more and more!
What are the influences? How they have changed in some way?
Most of my early influences come from my childhood with Brazilian popular culture cartoons, Hip Hop, Skating, Music, Books, and especially other’s art.
Mainly Hip Hop and graffiti changed my way of thinking and acting, especially in Brazil where everything is precarious leaving you with no incentive for anything. I can say that this silent form of art in my life expanded my way of being in a very positive way.
Some people follow the rules, some people break rules, so why break the law in order to express yourself? Also, what does graffiti mean to you?
Well, I as a writer of graffiti do not see myself as breaking any law. I think that the larger part of a hypocritical and blind society, that is manipulated by it’s own system see us as vandals. For example, here in São Paulo during the year of a political election, they write their names throughout the city without permission and there is no crime. Now, I do graffiti without permission and suddenly, I am a thug, a vagabond and a criminal? Honestly I do not understand this kind of law. When I started to paint in the streets, I painted more illegally, nowadays I paint illegally much less because I am always invited to paint in different places and events.
Many of us see this breach of law as natural, and when you start to see it as a whole, graffiti can sometimes be considered to serve only a minor part of society as well as everywhere. In São Paulo in the past we lived in a gray dictatorship and order, so paint it gray. In my city the only graffiti that is not deleted are the designs, all styles of letters are deleted by the government. This whole process generates a revolt and more motivation for us to always be painting.
The graffiti for me is the cry of revolt, protest and freedom through the colors. Honestly, man I do not know how I can describe this meaning. It is part of my self. This is part of my essence and it is present in everything I do and produce. So I guess I can say, it is my life!
I think we have to do what we like regardless of anything else. To do what we love makes life worth living. You will never be what other people want you to be. Keep the roots. The life of a writer faces a daily struggle to keep their art their lifestyle. Through studying and work comes a natural form of recognition!
I want to thank all who have always supported me and with me on walks, my family, my mother, wife and children, my brothers Graffiti Venec – Zen one – Rob (Turma44) – Fern – Locone (Dignos) – Gesp – Mandre – FM – Turma 44 – Snieto – D.Maçã – Ratones – Kals (Madrid) – Raven Leads (Manila) – The Foundation, my crews: ESU – AMC – TWA – EDS – T44 – VNK and to all who like my work.